Employee & Community Health

Staying on track: 5 healthy-eating strategies for the holidays

12/8/2015 by Rose Prissel, RDN, LD

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Don't let the hustle and bustle of the holidays derail the progress you've made in adopting healthy eating and exercise habits. Remember, it's what you do 90% of the time that counts. Allow yourself to cheat a little, but only once a day. These strategies can help you stay on track. 

  • Be mindful. Wait to fill your plate until you see what's being offered, find your favorite foods and choose your indulgences. 
    • Savor your food and beverages: take small bites and sips, and notice how it tastes. Enjoy the moment. 
    • Control your environment at work and at home to reduce the risk of mindless eating. Move seasonal treats to the lowest traffic area and keep them in containers or tins. 
    • When satisfied, move away from the food table. 
    • Add fun games to the party as a distraction and to reduce eating. 
  • Pour wisely to reduce calories from punches, nogs and sweetened or alcoholic beverages. 
    • Use a slender glass rather than a wide one. 
    • Drink water after each non-water drink. 
    • Fill the glass with ice before pouring the high-calorie beverage. 
    • Choose water. Not only will it keep you refreshed and hydrated during our dry winter weather, but it also will give you a feeling of fullness. Add interest to water with crushed herbs such as mint or parsley or citrus wedges. 
  • Downsize your plate from a dinner to a salad or dessert plate. 
  • Practice saying, "No thank you," politely when food is offered, but you aren't hungry. 
  • Refresh your palate. Eating a sugar-free mint, brushing your teeth or chewing gum can reduce your desire to continue eating. 

Rose Prissel is a dietitian at Mayo Clinic working in pediatric and adult nutrition, with a focus on preventive care, sports nutrition and weight management.